Most users upload a name alongside additional data in order to get back contact details. Sometimes, the names can be problematic, cause errors and eventually hinder the system's ability to return data that might be there but could not be retrieved due to the name structure that was sent.
Cleansing - "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya..."
Clean data returns good data. The known phrase in the data enrichment industry is "Garbage in, garbage out". If you use dirty data, you'll get back dirty data (or no data). The first step to get good data back is to have clean names:
- No titles - Remove any professional titles like: Dr, Prof, RN, Adv, etc.
- No prefixes - Remove any personal prefixes like: Mr, Mrs, Ms, Lord, HRH, etc ;-)
- Avoid suffixes - Try to avoid as much as you can any "I", "II" or "III" as well as "Jr." or "Sr.".
- 2 Characters - First name and last name must have at least two characters so NO initials, dots, periods or commas.
- Initials only as middle name - Only middle name allows initials so you must avoid initials anywhere else.
Structure - "If you build it, he will come"
Whether you are using a single column for 'Full name' or separate first and last name columns, names should be set in a good structure. Knowing where to put the spaces or dashes is critical to how the names are parsed (i.e. broken to first and last name).
- 1 or 2 spaces in a full name - When you map a column as full name, make sure you have either 1 or 2 spaces in the name. 1 space when you have just first name and last name. 2 spaces when you have first name, middle name (or initial) and last name.
- Use a dash instead of space - Use dashes to identify the first or last name when you have "double barrel" first name like Billy-Bob Thornton or a "double barrel" family name like Kim Kardashian-West. Names of Spanish origin are know for this, so Lionel Andrés Messi-Cuccittini can easily be recognized (Andrés will be parsed as middle name).
Full name: Billy-Bob Thornton = First: Billy-Bob + Last: Thornton
Full name: Billy Bob Thornton = First: Billy + Middle: Bob + Last: Thornton
Full name: Donald J Trump = First: Donald + Middle: J + Last: Trump
Full name: Kim Kardashian-West = First: Kim + Last: Kardashian-West